16 December 2008

Editing Complete

After nearly a month, I finally finished editing and correcting the YA novel.  I think it's in the best possible condition that I can get it in.  Now, I just need a professional to offer any helpful suggestions.  Any agents or editors out there?  I'm more than willing to send it to you!

11 December 2008

The Work Goes On

I'm in the process of editing my YA novel.  It's historical fiction set during the French Revolution.  While the editing is taking a while, I'm not hating it as much as I thought I would.  Perhaps that's because it's my own revisions and not an actual editor's.  But I really think it has more to do with the fact that I finished it in June and haven't really looked at it since.  That's helped clear my mind and allowed me to edit with a fresh eye.

I only hope the red ink in my pen lasts!

Meanwhile, the critique group I belong to is giving me advice about another YA novel I finished.  This one is set in the present day, almost.

03 December 2008

More Fun

I saw this on someone's blog and thought I would do it myself. The things I've done are in bold.

1. Started your own blog - and you're reading it!
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band - the Moulton All-Girl Polka Band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain - does being in a car count?
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo - and it was terrible
11. Bungee jumped - I wish!
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - took three hours
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - although not at my present job!
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing - if you count the rock wall on the cruise ship
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt - several times
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies - and that's when I quit the Brownies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London - hope to on vacation next year
77. Broken a bone - four times to be precise
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book - trying!
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury - oh, I wish
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee - moistened tobacco works to remove the sting
100. Read an entire book in one day - too many to count

02 December 2008

Fingers Crossed

I sent out queries to agents again about my YA novel. I received a request for a partial (I think, the email was actually kind of vague, but I don't want to overwhelm the kind agent with more than she intended) and will send that to her tomorrow.

Here's wishing myself luck!

Just for Fun

I was reading Janet Reid's blog today, and she posted the results from a couple quizzes she took online. I thought they looked like fun (I love online quizzes), so I took them, too. Here are the results.

I also found this site today. So, it was a zombie day for me. My favorite poem is the one "by" Edgar Allan Poe.

Another quiz result.

I could survive for 44 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk Beds.net

This last quiz is just completely wrong on so many levels. But I like the idea of having something that says I'm a genius, even if it is just a goofy Internet quiz.

blog readability test

TV Reviews

Try them for yourself.

15 November 2008

Brazos Valley Conference

I went to the Connections & Craft conference sponsored by the Brazos Valley SCBWI today, and I had a great time. Two other members of the critique group I belong to attended as well.

The conference also functioned as a workshop, so we had a few writing exercises to do during the day. These helped us work on openings and character development.

I mentioned earlier that I had a critique scheduled with Cynthia Leitich Smith. That went great. She loved my manuscript! Or at least the first 10 pages. She gave me the names of some agents for submissions. I'm currently in the process of editing the piece (again), so I'll finish that before I try submitting again.

Here's hoping!

13 November 2008

My Dewey Number

I'm a librarian, so I'm interested in knowing where all things belong according that bizarre little man known as Melvil Dewey. So, I took a (very brief) quiz to learn my own personal Dewey Decimal Number, and here are the results.

S K Joiner's Dewey Decimal Section:

680 Manufacture for specific uses

S K Joiner = 91811059458 = 918+110+594+58 = 1680

600 Technology

Health, agriculture, management, public relations, buildings.

What it says about you:
You are creative and inspired to make the world a better place. You can work hard on something when it catches your interest. Your friends have unique interests in common with you.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

Fairly accurate. Neat!

07 November 2008

At the Faire

I went to the Texas Renaissance Festival last weekend with a friend of mine and her two children. The group of us have gone for the last three years. And I've been many times before that.

The weather was beautiful, so we were really able to see people in crazy outfits. That's always my favorite part of the Ren Fest - the people-watching.

So, my friend's children (for some reason, my grandmother calls them Hank and Hannah*) dressed up this year. Hank was a pirate, and Hannah dressed as a princess. As the day progressed, and they got tired, the costumes started to fall apart.

Here they are in the open-air church on the Festival grounds.

They also played King of the Log and tried to knock each other off.

Hank managed to knock Hannah off the log first.

But then, Hannah got her revenge.

And then, Hank and I tried the brachiating, where you're strapped into a harness and attached to giant rubber bands and bounced high in the air with the help of a trampoline. I've done this before, but I was unable to flip.

This year, however, I had success!

Of course, I was in pain for about three days afterward. That was quite the ab workout.

The children went through the maze, too. Hank got a little lost and had a hard time finding the exit. But he managed to find his way out.

And Hannah wanted a turkey leg. She originally called it a chicken leg (that would be quite a chicken!), but we corrected her.

I could not believe she ate that thing. I think they're disgusting before people start chewing on them, and I wouldn't even touch it. But she ate it! Note Hank's expression, not unlike my own.

We had a great time. And we're already planning for next year's visit.

*Obviously, not their real names.

25 October 2008

Another Conference

The good news about the conference I'm attending next month is the person who's critiquing my YA submission. It's Cynthia Leitich Smith, one of my favorite authors! I don't know whether she'll like my work or not, but I'm thrilled to have someone I so like and respect read it. That will be exciting.

I'll let you know how it goes.

15 October 2008

Congratulations, Linda!

My friend and former professor, Linda Calvert Jacobson, has a one-woman show of her original paintings at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Congratulations!

I am so happy I got an original work from her when I graduated from college. I still have it sitting happily in the living room. It's in a place of honor - on the entertainment center that I face every day!

She teaches art classes, too. But I never got art instruction from her. She taught me how to write a newspaper article in Associated Press style. Amazingly, despite becoming a librarian, I still use that skill in writing press releases. Thanks, Linda!

If you're looking for Christmas ideas, she also has an online shop you can peruse.

14 September 2008

And Now, the Aftermath

Well, we managed to make it through Hurricane Ike. We lost power at our hotel at about 1:30 a.m., but amazingly, it came back on around 6:30 a.m. We've been amazingly lucky with that. The IHOP in front of the hotel was actually open yesterday afternoon, so we went and ate the only food being served - pancakes, sausage and eggs.

Mom's dog, Tipper, hates thunderstorms. Fortunately, there wasn't much thunder associated with Ike. However, the winds howled loudly, and the rain poured. I thought the dog might have a nervous breakdown or a heart attack. She kept scraping the door to her pen and breathing heavily. But she made it.

We're all fine. We talked to a friend of ours who stayed in Angleton, and she said our house looked all right. Just some limbs down and no power.

We're hoping to go home tomorrow.

12 September 2008

Waiting on Ike

My mother, my grandmother, two dogs and one cat are currently sitting in a hotel room in Sugar Land. We're waiting on Hurricane Ike to make landfall.

We evacuated three years ago for Hurricane Rita. Here we go again. Although we'll actually have wind and rain from Ike. Rita left us alone.

Needless to say, I don't like Ike. But we're all right. We've got food and water and shelter. Now all we can do is pray.

21 August 2008

Queries: Update

The queries I sent out about my YA novel went better than for the middle grade. I got one partial request that became a no, but that's better than all no's.

So, I've sent some more queries. Fingers crossed!

Other San Diego Adventures

While my main reason for going to San Diego was to attend Comic Con, I went a couple days early. I wanted to go to the San Diego Zoo and see the pandas.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a snow leopard, too. It was sleeping up high and only its head was visible. But I saw it!

Along with adorable sleeping koalas,

meerkats that my cat would love to have for playmates,

a rhinoceros taking a bath,

a giraffe trying to eat,

the giant pandas playing happily,

zebras drinking heartily,

okapi hiding in the trees,

giant tortoises sunning (or playing dead),

and these cute little klipspringers posing beautifully!

The zoo was really nice, although the map left a lot to be desired. I enjoyed seeing the animals. And I was thrilled the pandas were out and awake and playing!

12 August 2008

I Can't Complain About Crowds at TLA Ever Again!

Some of you know that I went to Comic Con International in San Diego last month. For those of you who don't know, Comic Con is the largest pop culture convention in the country. It began as a celebration of all things comics but has turned into a celebration of comic books, television, movies, games and toys.

About 125,000 people attend the four-day conference. That works out to nearly 32,000 people every day. TLA Annual, the Texas Library Association's annual conference only hosts about 8,000 people. So ... nothing to compare really.

And, yes, people were dressed up. I saw lots of Obi-Wan Kenobis, Stormtroopers, Batmans and Jokers. Also some Watchmen characters (mainly Rorschach), Harleyquin, Two-Face, Scarecrow, some apes from Planet of the Apes, anime/manga characters, Snake Eyes, Sylar victims, etc.

Anyway, I paid for a four-day pass which included Preview Night - three hours on the Exhibit Floor the day before the official open. This was amazing! The visual stimulation was almost overpowering - everywhere you looked, there was something new to see. And there were, of course, people all over the place!

While the exhibits were something else, the main attractions for me were in Hall H on the full days of the convention. Hall H is where the major presentations are - movie studio panels and such. Hall H holds 6,500 people, so nearly everyone who attends TLA could fit in this one hall!

Those of you who know me, and know how celebrity-mad I am, know I was in heaven during these three days. And one of those days was my birthday! Just to give you an idea of some of the people I saw, a list of names.

Keanu Reeves & Jennifer Connelly (Oscar winner!)

Mila Kunis, Mark Wahlberg (Oscar nominee) & Chris "Ludacris" Bridges

Hugh Jackman (surprise attendee, he wasn't on the schedule)

Djimon Hounsou (Oscar nominee) & Dakota Fanning
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Stephenie Meyer, et al
And the 6,000 screaming teenage girls in the audience nearly popped my eardrums!

Gerard Butler
Guy Ritchie
Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley (Oscar nominee) & Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Benicio Del Toro (Oscar winner! another surprise, he wasn't on the schedule, either)
Samuel L. Jackson (Oscar nominee)
Seth Rogen
James Franco
Elizabeth Banks
Justin Long (the Mac guy)
the entire cast of Heroes
Matthew Fox & Team Darlton from Lost

Anton Yelchin
Joan Allen (Oscar nominee)
Bill Nighy

Brendan Fraser
Maria Bello
Michelle Yeoh
Jet Li
Neil Patrick Harris

How long did I wait in line? About four hours every day, but it was completely worth it. Seriously, I was in celebrity heaven. One of the best birthdays I've ever had! If you ever get the chance to go to Comic Con, I highly recommend it.

What upcoming movies did I learn about that I can't wait to see?

Watchmen - I love that book, and the movie looks fantastic!
The Wolf Man
Terminator Salvation
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
The Day the Earth Stood Still
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Tron 2 (Disney showed some surprise footage)

10 August 2008

YA Novel

I've finished a young adult novel set during the French Revolution. I think it has a better hook than the middle grade novel I've been querying. So, I'm setting aside the middle grade book to send out queries for the YA one.

I sent four queries today. We'll see what happens.

Vacation: Back in the USA

We made it through the border crossing back into the United States with no trouble. And we were in Maine.

We made our way to Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park. We had been there seven years earlier, and it was a place Mom and I both liked. More rocks and water!

Then we drove through New Hampshire to Massachusetts to go to Emily Dickinson's home. She's one of my favorite poets, and we were unable to go to her house the last time we were in New England. This was quite nice. You can't take pictures inside, but here's the Amherst home of America's greatest poet.

After our tour of Emily's house, we drove to Connecticut to fly home. And now you know all about our vacation.

Vacation: Prince Edward Island

Finally, we arrived in Prince Edward Island driving over the Confederation Bridge. I could not believe I had finally made it. Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite children's book, so this was the Motherland for me.

When we went to Green Gables, I could not stop smiling. I loved, loved, loved this. I could have stayed there all day walking the few trails around the house and soaking up the atmosphere. Other kindred spirits were there, despite the rain. They had smiles on their faces as well.

They sold Raspberry Cordial in the Butter Churn Cafe at Green Gables. Finally! I got to drink some cordial (and not currant wine). It was wonderful. I bought two bottles and shipped them home.

The Haunted Wood stood very near the front door of Green Gables. And it was spooky! I managed not to frighten myself too much. I did not want to be forced to render myself unconscious!

Cavendish Beach, part of Prince Edward Island National Park, was near Green Gables. The water of the northern Atlantic was quite cold.

The North Cape had a wind farm and the glorious red sand found across the island.

West Point Lighthouse did not technically open to visitors until the day after we were there. But the proprietor was there, and she let me go up into the light. There are two hotel rooms in the lower portion of the lighthouse. The steps higher up the lighthouse become very steep and very narrow, and my legs hurt for two days after my visit.

The PEI countryside was just stunning. The red fields and the farm houses looked like something from a postcard - or Anne of Green Gables.

Point Prim Lighthouse is the only round lighthouse on PEI, and the only brick lighthouse in Canada.

After all the fun in Prince Edward Island, it was time to return home. Back to the USA, next.

Vacation: New Brunswick

We spent very little time in New Brunswick, but the province was absolutely stunning. Lots of covered bridges are in New Brunswick, so we had to find as many as we could. One of them was the longest covered bridge in the world in Hartland.

We also drove through Fundy National Park and hiked around Dickson Falls. I loved this spot. I adore rocks and water, so this was just about heaven for me.

And then we went to Hopewell Rocks. More rocks and water! It's on the Bay of Fundy, with the largest tides in the world, so you can actually walk around on the ocean floor and see these amazing rocks. The way the tides have eroded the rocks is incredible. The Flower Pot Rocks are some of the most famous.

And the Bay of Fundy is right there, with Nova Scotia on the horizon.

Next on our trip was Prince Edward Island.

17 July 2008

Update: Queries

Well, I told you I sent some queries out to the agents I met at the writer's conference in Austin. I sent four queries out then and have heard two no's. The other two have not responded as of yet.

About a week later, I sent out four more queries to agents I have not met. But I have gotten two no's from them, too.

So, I'm still waiting to hear from four agents - or to hear the "no response" response.

Fingers still crossed!

Vacation: Outside Quebec City

One of our days in Quebec City we drove around the surrounding countryside. We went to Canyon Sainte-Anne and hiked around the waterfall and canyon there. The canyon has three bridges over it. Mom only went over two of those bridges, because the third one was down A LOT of steps. She never would have made it!

The Sainte-Anne-du-Nord River carved the canyon.

From the first bridge, you get to see the top of the falls.

The waterfalls from one of the viewing points on the trail. The melting snow made them tremendously powerful during May.

In the town of Sainte Anne de Beaupre, we went to the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. This church was absolutely breathtaking - outside and in. Pictures could never do it justice. The church rises above the surrounding buildings and the twin spires can be seen for miles around.

The basilica had a very Orthodox feel to it inside. The mosaics and tile work looked like pictures I've seen of Eastern Orthodox churches.

This included a relic from St. Anne herself - bone from her arm, I think.

Underneath the main sanctuary, there is another smaller chapel with more paintings on the walls and decor in a gorgeous shade of blue.

This is where the replica of the Pieta is. You can see it up close. Having never seen the original, I can only say that the replica is stunning. I could have stood there looking at that for quite some time.

Even the ceiling above the replica was gorgeous. Look at the tile work!

We also stopped briefly by Montmorency Falls, right outside Quebec City. This waterfall is right on the side of the highway. These falls are actually higher than Niagara Falls on the U.S.-Canada border.

Next stop: New Brunswick!